Kwasi Kwarteng grilled by Trevor Phillips over energy crisis
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It comes after Britain’s energy regulator, Ofcom, confirmed last month that the energy price cap (the maximum tariff) will soar to nearly £2,000 in April, a 50 percent rise. The announcement came as bills were already soaring for millions of households after multiple energy suppliers went bust amid a global energy crisis. Richard Tice, leader of the UK Reform Party, fears the Government’s transition to a net zero economy will only see the situation get worse.
He said on Talk Radio: “My concern, and my real anxiety, is in the next three or four years, if something doesn’t change, then energy costs are going to be between 50 to 100 percent higher than now primarily due to the impact of these net zero energy policies.
“We are just at the foothills of the net zero cost mountain.
“Think of Mount Everest. We’re just at base camp…and that is where prices could go.
“But think about the impact on my new pensioner friend who is currently only able to afford two hours a day.
“Just imagine in three to four years if they can only afford one hour of heating a day.
“Colder, poorer, almost certainly likely to die years early. That is the real cost, that is the human cost of Westminster’s obsession with net zero.”
Rising prices have also coincided with a cost-of-living crisis as inflation has ramped up the prices of goods while the economy is battling to recover from the pandemic.
Meanwhile, soaring energy bills have raised the alarm for poorer households which could get pushed into fuel poverty.
As the UK shifts away from fossil fuels like oil and gas, more impetus has been placed on renewable energy like wind power.
Britain has in fact become the world leader in this arena, generating more electricity from offshore wind than anywhere else in the world.
This is a key part of the Government’s net zero strategy, which seeks to decarbonise all sectors of the economy by 2050.
But critics say that offshore wind is expensive and its reliance on strong winds to generate power makes it a risky prospect.
In fact, Government data has revealed power generation from wind farms fell by 30 percent between July and September.
And because Britain slashed its supplies and discouraged investment into North Sea oil as part of the clean energy transition, opponents of net zero claim this left it more vulnerable to the soaring global gas prices.
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Earlier this week, a host of Tory MPs, including former Brexit minister David Frost, wrote an open letter to Mr Johnson, urging a return to fracking in the UK amid a global shortage of wholesale gas.
Lord Frost argued that fracking would bring “a competitive and reliable source of energy” and reduce the UK’s reliance on imports.
This also came as fears Russia, which supplies the EU with 40 percent of its natural gas, would cut off deliveries to the bloc amid a conflict with Ukraine.
Moscow has been accused of deliberately withholding gas supplies travelling through its vast network of pipelines over the last few months, seeing prices skyrocket to record highs.
While Britain does not directly purchase pipeline gas off Russia, it does import some via the Netherlands and Belgium.
In November 2019, the Government placed an “indefinite suspension” on fracking after a report by the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) warned that it was not possible to predict the probability or size of tremors caused by the practice.
Molly Scott-Cato, a professor of green economics at the University of Roehampton was furious at Lord Frost’s letter.
She told Express.co.uk: “It’s clear that some Tory MPs didn’t get the memo about the climate emergency but, just three months on from the Glasgow climate conference, we need the prime minister to stick to his words about a rapid transition towards net zero rather than allowing his political weakness to put future generations at risk.”
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